Billionaire George Soros fuels Democrats’ push to lower voting age to 17
Stung by recent election defeats, Democrats are leading the charge to lower the voting age to 17, with a little help from liberal billionaire George Soros.
In California, Democratic legislators introduced this week a landmark bill, ACA 10, that would give the Golden State the nation’s youngest statewide voting age by lowering the threshold from 18 to 17 in the name of reversing the slide in voter turnout.
“Young people are our future,” said Democratic Assembly member Evan Low, the measure’s sponsor. “Lowering the voting age will help give them a voice in the democratic process and instill a lifelong habit of voting.”
The proposal comes as the most ambitious of a host of efforts to chip away at the 18-year-old voting age as Democrats seek to bring into the fold younger voters, who traditionally support more liberal causes and candidates than do their elders.
“It is a transparent ploy to pad the Democratic vote,” said John J. Pitney Jr., American politics professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, referring to the California bill.
Mr. Soros is on board: His Open Society Foundations is among the left-wing philanthropies backing FairVote, which has expanded its advocacy for reforms such as a national popular vote in order to exert downward pressure on the voting age.
The group supports allowing 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before the general election to vote in presidential primaries and caucuses, a policy catching on in many states.
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now allow 17-year-olds to participate in some primary and caucus elections, according to FairVote.